Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2002 September 16
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An Atlas V Rocket Prepares to Launch
Credit & Copyright: Ecliptic Enterprises Corporation

Explanation: The first launch of an Atlas V rocket occurred last month. The Atlas V, built by Lockheed Martin, is the first rocket in the U. S. Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. Rockets in this program can carry increasingly heavy payloads by just adding more boosters. In fact, the only US expendable rocket capable of lifting more was the Saturn V that carried people to the Moon. Atlas rockets have a reputation for being extremely reliable -- the current launch was the 61st consecutive successful launch for an Atlas. Highlighted in the inset is the small RocketCam camera that sent back pictures from the rocket during launch.

Tomorrow's picture: Hold the Mayo

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.